ISME has expressed its concern at reports that Government intends to pare back the number of Ministers travelling abroad for St Patrick’s Day this year. While acknowledging that the pandemic is far from over on a global basis, ISME believes that it is vital that our Government avails of the unique opportunity presented by the marking of St Patrick’s Day, after two years of restricted trade.
Many domestic businesses have been drastically affected by the Covid pandemic, our tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses in particular. Now is not the time for an excess of caution, when we need to aggressively exploit the fact that we have managed an effective vaccine rollout, and successfully moved beyond the very severe lockdown restrictions imposed here.
For St Patrick’s Day 2022, ISME suggests that the Taoiseach should “empty the bench” and get the message out that Ireland is again open for business. In view of the fact that the UK Government has yet to fully implement its post-Brexit border controls, and the ongoing threats to the Northern Ireland Protocol, we further ask that as many Northern Ireland politicians and businesses be accommodated in the Irish delegations as possible.
Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said: “We ask that media outlets refrain from portraying these visiting delegations as junkets: they are an essential part of selling Ireland abroad, a function which we consider to be a basic duty for the executive. Ireland is back in business, and St Patrick’s Day 2022 is the perfect opportunity for the Irish Government to deliver than message internationally.”